Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Potential For The "Big 5" in 2009?

The "Big 5" is the term used for films that are nominated/win the Oscar for best film, best director, best actor, best actress and best screenplay.
Only three films in Oscar history have won the "Big 5" those films: It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

In fact, over the past twenty years only only 5 films have been up for all five categories: Million Dollar Baby (2004), American Beauty (1999), The English Patient (1996), The Remains of the Day (1993), The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

I've been wondering if there is any chance of any films breaking that barrier again. Clearly the most challenging component to the equation is to have a quality film that has a compelling male and female lead.

Honestly, is Clint Eastwood co-staring alongside Hillary Swank going to be the only male-female pairing in a "Big 5" potential for the decade?

Maybe one of the defining characteristics of film over the past decade is that film leads that get praised are one's the monopolize screen time in such a way that they hardly leave any room for anything but supporting actors?

(Examples of this would include: Russell Crowe, Gladiator; Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood, Hoffman, Capote, Jamie Fox, Ray, Adrien Brody, The Pianist; Helen Mirren, The Queen; Charlize Theron, Monster).

So when it comes to 2009 the possiblities are, ranked by possibility...

1. Nine (Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Rob Marshall, Michael Tolkin/Anthony Minghella)
2. An Education (Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Lone Scherfig, Nick Hornby)
3. Bright Star (Ben Whishaw, Abby Cornish, Jane Campion, Jane Campion)
4. The Lovely Bones (Mark Wahlberg, Saoirse Ronan, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh/Phillipa Boyens)

That's it, and it doesn't look promising. If Nine is a big hit, and Cotillard is pushed for lead, maybe, and based on my hopes, I'd certainly like to see An Education up for a shot at the "Big 5." But to be honest, even if one of these films eeked out all five nominations, gaining all five wins seems impossible.

I for one, am not crossing my fingers.

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